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Monday, April 13, 2009

How I lost 20 pounds in under a month?

One early wintry morning in Columbus, I woke up and slowly ambled across to wash my face. One look at the face in the mirror woke me out of my slumber. I was shocked to see how much I’d put on in the past few weeks and how I hadn’t noticed this all these days (the whole problem of seeing gradual changes each day). One look at that sphere in front of me made me decide that it was time for action. Long story short, in under a month I’d come down from about 202 lbs to 182 lbs. A previous post when I was going through this phase.


I always had very strong beliefs in the power of the human mind. Like Paulo Coelho says in “The Alchemist”, you want something with all your heart and the whole world conspires to ensure you get it. A few things I did to ensure that it happened: 

  1. Visualization – I put a photo of my lean self (from ages ago but it doesn’t matter) at a location where I could see it every day.
  2. Set a concrete goal (I will lose some weight by next month is just not good enough and I will try to lose some weight soon is probably the best)
  3. Believe you can do it (I of course had this belief since I’d recently gained about 8-10 lbs hibernating in the damned winter of Columbus. I knew the first few lbs would be a cake-walk and with all my efforts described below, I should surely get close to the target.)
  4. Diet + Exercise (It can never be just diet or just exercise)

a.       Diet: I stuck to healthy food (Subs and Veggie-Delight at that most of that month – had just read about that Subway Mascot guy losing so much of weight eating subs) or home cooked chappathis with sabzi (preferably cooked with no or min oil).

b.      Exercise: 5 days a week of 45 mins of aerobics on the cross-trainer first thing in the morning. I’d read that first thing in the morning helps you lose weight since most of the carbs from the night meal have been digested by then. Alternately, do it after 4-5 hours after a meal. Sports of some sort – Tennis/Volleyball at Bel-Air Court.

  1. Setup a Challenge – I told everyone in sight that I was going to set out to lose 20lbs. No one believed I could. One of my friends (Ravish) actually took up a bet that I couldn’t do it. It was fun to see how he was ever-willing to take me out for some fast-food treats all of that month and the look on his face when I declined.
  2. Get a few easy wins early on (The weight I had just gained was easiest to get off and this really helped motivate me for the rest of the month)
  3. Make it a fun exercise – The challenge and fun/games everyday really helped make this a fun experience. And of course, the encouragement and the discouragement (from Ravish) really helped.

Thanks a lot to my friends (Ravi, Ravish, Gops, Chandhu, Mahaniya and a host of others) who were there with words of encouragement and support (that's obviously a very important factor too). They helped ensure my strong faith in myself wasn’t baseless.

PS: A disclaimer I need to make is that losing so much weight in such a short time is not believed to be good. You know your body best. I am one who’s more easily prone to gaining / losing weight within a range of 160-200lbs. So it wasn’t that big a deal. :-)

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